Several years ago, while taking a shower, Payal suddenly touched upon something hard on her left breast. For a second, she got doubtful but then in the hurry for reaching her office on time, she let pass her suspicion. Again, next morning the doubt clouded her mind when she saw a newspaper ad about breast lumps that could signal cancer.
Just to rest her doubts, she went for a mammogram and test results showed her to be in preliminary stages of Breast Cancer. A reassurance from the doctor that it is not life threatening yet and early detection will save her life, Payal begun her treatment and today she is leading a happy life with her loving husband and two adorable kids.
Breast self-examination is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. According to A Woman’s Breast Self-Examination Journal by Susan Mendelson, since no one knows how to prevent breast cancer yet, the very best thing we can do to minimise its impact on our lives is to catch it as early as possible. Dr. Christian Northrup, a leader in the holistic women’s healthcare movement and author of Women’s Body, Women’s Wisdom calls breast self examination as an opportunity to ‘touch our breasts with the energy of caring and respect.’
Credihealth recommends monthly breast self exam for all women above 20 years of age. Research indicates 18-29% reduction in breast cancer mortality by early detection and 90% of breast cancers were discovered by women themselves.
Read the following FIVE STEPS to perform monthly breast self-examination.
- Stand with shoulders straight and arms on hips. Now see your breasts in mirror. Check for size, shape and color. If you notice bulging or dimpling of the breasts’ skin, distorted shape, inverted nipple, redness, soreness, swelling or rash, speak to your doctor.
- Raise your arms and check for changes same as above.
- Look for any signs of fluid coming out of nipples. It could be clear or milky, even blood-stained sometimes.
- Now feel your entire breast in small circular movements while lying down. Touch left breast with right hand, and right breast with left hand.
- Do this once again while standing.